Rutgers starts spring break early; will switch to online classes amid virus fears

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Rutgers University officials are urging students to leave for spring break early this year and to not return to campus until at least April 3. Classes will also be conducted online following the break amid coronavirus concerns.

Classes were canceled for the rest of the week. News 12 New Jersey found many students packing their cars to head back home. Some were even concerned that they may not be able to get back into their dorms for the year.

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“Right now, I’m just trying to get all my stuff out in case they do close for the semester,” said freshman Emily Scarborough.

Rutgers will move all classes to online from March 23 through at least April 3.

“I'm going to live at home. Home for me is Jersey City, so I'm just going to live there until further notice,” said freshman Steven Panzariello.

The university’s decision will impact 70,000 students across all three Rutgers campuses.

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“Rutgers is taking action to be able to keep us safe. I think that's the most important thing right now,” said junior Dionne Regis.

But canceling in-person classes presents its own set of problems. Dance major Edyn McLeod is a senior rehearsing a performance. She says that it is the kind of project not well-suited to be done online.

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"I'm involved in a jazz piece right now. We usually rehearse on Fridays but that's going to be ruined. You know, we’ll be set back,” McLeod says.

Rutgers athletes and fans are also feeling the impact of the virus. All at-home competitions will be played without spectators or non-essential personnel through at least April 3.

Rutgers acknowledges that it may not be possible for all of its students to go home. Students come from all over the country and aboard. They are asking those students to be in touch with the student housing office.

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Colleges across the state were following similar procedures to Rutgers.

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Monmouth University canceled classes this week. Administrators are preparing for the possibility of remote classes after spring break.

Princeton University starts spring break Saturday. Classes will resume remotely a week from Monday. The university says two staff members are under self-quarantine for possible exposure to coronavirus.

Kean University, which is currently on spring break, will resume with remote instruction Monday through the end of the month when students return next week.

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Montclair State University has extended spring break through Sunday, March 22. The majority of classes will take place online through the end of the semester after the break.

Rowan University students start spring break on Monday. The break will be extended a week so faculty can prepare remote instruction if needed.

Stevens Institute of Technology is also holding all classes online.

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